Background. Concerns have been raised about the adverse impact of dusty air pollution (DAP) in Iran on human health; but there is no study showing the effect of DAP on immune system toward allergic diseases.
Methods. The effects of ambient DAP exposures (based on PM10) on cytokine profiles and lymphocyte immunophenotypes in blood among 148 individuals of general population in hazardous (AQI >300) and good condition weather (AQI <50) was examined. We measured cytokine production (IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, IFN-γ) using ELISA as well as blood samples using a FACSort flow cytometer to determine phenotypes of T-lymphocytes (CD4+ and CD8+), CD19+ B-lymphocytes, CD25+ and CD4+ CD25+ cells.
Results. The mean serum level of IL-4 (33.4± 2.9 vs 0.85± 0.65 pg/dl) and IL-13 (15.1± 4.4 vs 0.12± 0.7 pg/dl) in subjects who exposure to ambient DAP were increased significantly than individuals in good condition weather (P= 0.001 for both). In addition, CD19+ B-lymphocytes (12.6± 4.9 vs 8.9± 3.2%) and CD4+ CD25+ cells (13.6± 4.6 vs 7.7± 3.8%) counts in peripheral blood were increased parallel with increased DAP exposure levels (P= 0.035 and P= 0.004, respectively).
Conclusions. The study may suggest ambient DAP may affect immune system shifting allergic inflammation in general population.
Key words. Dusty air pollution, immune system, allergic diseases, cytokine, lymphocyte